Re: Coupler droop


This method really appeals to the modeler in me.
Keith Kempster
Jacksonville, FL

--- In STMFC@..., Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:


I have been building blue box kits lately -- (Maybe I should create
a blog?)

Step 1 -- Paint the floor boards a wood color and lightly weather. Also
paint the kit underframe an appropriate color (some railroads painted
them black, others painted them brown). Weather to suit. (I do about
20 floors and underframes in a batch.)

Step 2 -- Turn one Athearn underframe into a jig for drilling 2-56 holes
for Kadee coupler pockets. Attach to the floor (boards under the frame)
and drill and tap the holes. Remove the jig. Make sure you carefully
choose where to drill the holes -- they do NOT go exactly where the
old Athearn post is located, but a little further towards the ends.

Step 3 -- Trim off the pocket on your kit Athearn underframe.

Step 4 -- Assemble the floor and underframe with the truck screws and
make sure the floor boards are under the frame (i.e. this is the
REVERSE of Athearn instructions!!!)

Step 5 -- Attach Kadee's new coupler pockets (#242 or #262 if you want
to use Whisker couplers) so they extend the correct distance from the
end of the floor. Attach them with Kadee PLASTIC 2-56 screws.

Step 6 -- Trim off the Kadee screws on the other side, flush with the
plastic deck. You could use metal 2-56 screws, but trimming them flush
will be much harder. :-)

Step 7 -- Add the weight. This will be INSIDE the car!

Step 8 -- Sand the "wings" off the side of the floor. The entire floor
assembly will now drop snugly, and perfectly, into the body. Glue it
in place. (I trim the claws off the doors first, and glue the doors
in place, before I add the floor.)

Step 9 -- Detail, paint, weather, etc -- The floor should be at exactly
the correct height, and the couplers should also be exactly correct.
(I assume you are using Athearn's blue box trucks which have a certain
bolster height. Other brands may have a different bolster height.)
No shims etc. are needed.

The couplers will not droop, and they will not come out, ever, unless
you unscrew the 2-56 screws holding the pockets in place.

Caution, Athearn blue box cars assembled this way might look so much
better to you that you'll want to toss all your older Athearn cars.

Note many older Athearn cars are NOT glued together -- so you can rebuild
them properly and easily!

Tim O'Connor

Background:I received a large lot of Athearn blue box rolling stock from my father. He's had these for years and decided he'd never build or run them. They all have hook and horn couplers. I want to replace them with Kadee couplers. I tried a set and there seems to be bit of vertical play, aka droop, in the draft box. What is the standard for droop, if any? What are the best methods for correcting out of tolerance couplers? I do have the Kadee coupler gauge and an NMRA gauge.
I've done some research and the options seems to range from replacing the draft boxes to shimming the opening with strip styrene.
Keith Kempster
Jacksonville, FL

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